The NEXUS Institute

Nexus Institute

The NEXUS Institute is one of 92 high school youth theology institutes funded by the Lilly Endowment, under the oversight of the Forum for Theological Enrichment. NEXUS exists to transform the landscape of the Lutheran Church through innovative and intentional development of young adults who want to be more involved in the nexus of faith, life, and the church.

The institute is a life-changing opportunity where young adults engage in theological learning, leadership development, and vocational discernment, all in the context of intentional Christian community, and are sent out to transform their local communities.

Welcome to the NEXUS Institute 

Full-time ministry is not what it used to be. We need to chart a new course. If you want to get below the surface of simplistic understandings of church and God and how Scripture and faith intersect with the world around you, NEXUS is the place.


Hope Over Fear. Come join us as focus on owning our radical hope in Christ by studying the Old and New Testaments and applying it to our lives.



What is the NEXUS Institute?

The NEXUS Institute is a week-long Theology Institute program for high school students who have completed their 9th grade year. The NEXUS Institute is a life-changing experience of community and learning focused on shaping people to be agents of God's transformation in the church and the world.

Through interactive learning experiences, discussion, and collaboration you'll explore why Jesus matters, and how your life is intended to be a life of transformation. You'll explore how the church relates to the pressing issues of our world today and why the church matters. As you explore with others, you'll also get a taste of intentional Christian community - the kind that can change the world.

When Is the Summer Residential Week of NEXUS?

The 2020 schedule is: the week of June 28-July 3 and the week of July 12-17 (preference given this week to high school students applying from NALC congregations).

Where is NEXUS?
NEXUS is located at Grand View University in Des Moines, Iowa. Throughout the week, institute participants will get to explore the greater Des Moines area, enjoying what it has to offer, as well as seeing and learning from people doing innovative ministry for the church.
Who can apply?

Applicants must have completed their 9th grade year. Applicants should be unsettled with the way things are. They should want to contribute to God's ongoing work of transformation in the world. They should have an interest in better understanding what difference Jesus makes for everyday living.

Apply to the NEXUS Institute

How much does NEXUS cost?

Attending the NEXUS Institute is free. Participants will have to provide their own transportation to Des Moines, Iowa. Assistance is available upon request and need. You can find the Travel Financial Assistance Request Form here.

NEXUS is made possible through a generous grant as part of Lilly Endowment Inc.’s High School Youth Theology Institutes initiative. Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based, private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family, J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons J.K. Jr. and Eli. Through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly & Company supports the causes of religion, education and community development. They seek to deepen and enrich the religious lives of American Christians, largely through initiatives to enhance and sustain the quality of ministry in American congregations and parishes.

I'm a pastor/youth leader, what should I do?
If you’re a pastor or youth director/minister/pastor, there are three main things you can do:
  1. Find those students you know would benefit from this.
  2. Tell them they should go to the NEXUS Institute.
  3. Nominate a student who should be a part of NEXUS!
  4. Contact us for more details.

Download Adult Attendee Guidelines

Adult Attendee Application

I'd like to work at/for NEXUS, what can I do?
There are many ways for you to be involved with NEXUS or work with us--for starters, you can participate as a mentor, speaker, project overseer, or local connection. If you’ve got other ideas or want to know more, please contact us. We’d love to hear from you!
How do I financially contribute to The NEXUS Institute?

We would like to continue providing NEXUS at little-to-no cost for participants. We believe this will have a tremendous impact on the future church and would love to have you partner with us and what God is doing through The NEXUS Institute!

For financial contributions, please contact us at nexus @ or contact our Vice-President for Advancement, Bill Burma at bburma @ Thank you in advance for your support of The NEXUS Institute!

Is The NEXUS Institute on social media?

Yes, we are! Please be sure to check us out on any of the following:

Have a Question? I Can Help.

Kate Faas
Director of The NEXUS Institute